Although nanolithographic techniques based on self-assembled block copolymer templates offer tremendous potential for fabrication of large-area nanostructure arrays, significant difficulties arise with both the lift-off and etch processes typically used for pattern transfer. These become progressively more important in the limit of extreme feature sizes. The few techniques that have been developed to avoid these issues are quite complex. Here, we demonstrate successful execution of a nanolithographic process based on solvent annealed, cylinder-forming, easily degradable, polystyrene-b-polylactide block copolymer films that completely avoids lift-off in addition to the most challenging aspects of etching. We report a "Damascene-type" process that overfills the polystyrene template with magnetic metal, employs ion beam milling to planarize the metal surface down to the underlying polystyrene template, then exploits the large etch rate contrast between polystyrene and typical metals to generate pattern reversal of the original template into the magnetic metal. The process is demonstrated via formation of a large-area array of 25 nm diameter ferromagnetic Ni 80Fe 20 nanodots with hexagonally close-packed order. Extensive microscopy, magnetometry, and electrical measurements provide detailed characterization of the pattern formation. We argue that the approach is generalizable to a wide variety of materials, is scalable to smaller feature sizes, and critically, minimizes etch damage, thus preserving the essential functionality of the patterned material.
- block copolymer
- nanodot array